FryUp: Fiddle sticks

Civilisation spreads; 'The Fiddler' strikes at TV3; and the presence of politicians works miracles on policy wonks and Ernie alike

— Fiddle sticks

— Summitations

Two bars of CDMA 2000 1x

It’s -97dBm out here in Moutere Valley. YouTube still works. The spread of civilisation is unstoppable.

Fiddle sticks

There’s been a plague of computer mice in balloons, toilet papered offices and gaggles of inflatable geese drinking from water-filled waste baskets over at that hip and funky broadcaster, TV3, recently. The targets of the pranks are music channel C4 and the jolly new Sunrise programme staffers.

What’s going on? Well, nobody knows really because the CCTV surveillance was blinded when they happened, but boastful notes accompanying the unnerving installations are signed “The Fiddler”.

It really wasn’t very hard to work out who the TV3 Fiddler is. See for yourself: The Fiddler’s YouTube taunt provides more than enough clues. As a low-budget clandestine management morale booster for staff, it’s working great.

YouTube: The Fiddler


Goodness me, wasn’t the Digital Summit 2.0 choc-a-bloc with industry luminaries? Future summits like version 2.1 and 2.4.3 will have a hard time beating the attendance record and no doubt, the amount of pre-election broadband lollies dangled in front of the audience.

David Cunliffe wants a new cable under the Tasman Sea, better rural broadband and 20Mbit/s to everyone soon. Maurice Williamson is hot on fibre to the premises, and seems to be hinting at taking on debt to build such a network, should National be elected in the next election.

All the pollie talk is potentially a very bad thing indeed. The assembled policy wonks were salivating at the prospect of public purse-strings being loosened and so where the internet providers in attendance, not to mention the Telco Overlord itself, Alcatel.

Why invest your own money, when there’s a good chance of taxpayer dosh coming up maybe next year already?

The trouble with all this is of course that everyone will wait until the game of political football pauses. It has the potential to further slow down NZ broadband development but then again, what’s the alternative? A “free market”, where two or three large, dominant telcos milk their sweated assets?

TelstraClear’s Alan Freeth meanwhile was competing with Econet, sorry, NZ Communications’ Tex Edwards for the most eccentric summit appearance. On taking the stage, Freeth said he could tell this was a digital summit, because there was nowhere to put his papers on the lectern.

A proud letter writer, happily patronising NZ Post by mailing his bon mots the time-honoured way, Freeth declared that we’re done with the connection thing. Instead, it’s now time to move onto “Creationism”, a word that in Freeth’s book doesn’t quite mean the same as what we’re used to.

No, “Creationism” is the fourth C missing from Cunliffe’s digital wotsit plan and has something to do with err, creating content. See, without content being created, nobody will want connections, Freeth believes. Well yes, there is that I suppose, but doesn’t that particular C word depend on having connections in the first place?

The Summit also saw the remarkable, nay, almost miraculous recovery of Ernie. Our favourite TUNAZ head honcho showed up on crutches at the pre-Summit drinks, but was seen bopping around in usual fashion during the event itself. Such is the healing power of Summits laden with politicians!

Digital Summit 2.0

Green digital generation the future

Gen Y finds a new C or two at Summit

Govt details analogue TV switch-off plans

Smile on dial at communications summit

Slideshow: ICT leaders gather for Digital Summit

Hard News: Digital Summit coverage


Cartoon from

Robert X Cringely

Readers write (and bite) back It's been a while since I combed through the mailbox and shared a little of what Cringesters have been telling me outside the confines of this blog. Since I'm still a little sleepy from all that turkey (and possibly one or two liquid refreshments), this feels like as good a time as any. First, Cringesters have given a big thumbs up to the notion that Google's possible bid for a chunk of the wireless spectrum will give the telecom fatcats a swift kick in their assets. RJ writes: "I'm ready to get on the bandwagon as soon as [Google] get the infrastructure in place, and hardware available...Consolidation is forcing me to convert to a CDMA carrier, versus my preferred GSM way of life. I'm past ready!" Or, as Cringe fan OD succinctly writes, "Hell yes I would sign up." One thing most Cringesters would not sign on for is the special "we'll read your email for you so you don't have to" service the NSA offers to certain ISP customers. But reader BB took exception to my ribbing of Deputy National Security Director Donald "Don't call me Kemosabe" Kerr: "I think you are pretending not to be as smart as you are. Mr. Kerr's point, regardless of whether it actually justifies the data compilation (or spying, if you prefer), is that 'people' are outraged about someone spying on them to obtain data, but are willing to give just about any data to just about anybody in support of their own self interests.... A supportable implication is that the the data itself, or who actually 'gets' it, does not really matter and is not actually relevant to the issue. The only relevant issue is the 'spying to get it' versus [the] 'giving it freely' issue. " In general, I find pretending to be stupid is an excellent way to mask actually being stupid. In this case, however, I would add that just because I gave my credit card number to Amazon doesn't mean they can sell it to someone else. Same goes for my ISP and my email. It's not theirs; it's mine. But enough on that one. Finally, re my recent Gobbler Awards, JG writes with a simple question: "What, no turkey [award] for Vista?" Good point. But I'm thinking that when it comes to Microsoft OSes, another bird might be more appropriate: like goose, as in cooked.

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